Most properties built prior to 1930 were constructed with solid walls, that is to say they don’t have cavities that can be injected with insulation. These solid wall properties need to be insulated with solid wall insulation which involves adding a layer of insulation to either the inside or outside wall. The purpose of insulating in this manner to slow the movement of heat out through the walls thereby dramatically reducing heating demand.
Here we are going to look at external solid wall insulation in a bit more detail.
In most cases, homeowners get in a professional to install solid wall insulation, it is not normally considered a DIY job. This is because the insulating process involves covering the original brickwork and therefore the process can significantly alter the appearance of the property – since the outside walls are highly visible, it is advised to get someone who knows what they are doing to install it!
There are three types of insulation that can be attached to the outside of the home; expanded polystyrene, mineral wool and phenolic resin. The expanded polystyrene is certainly the most popular since it is the most cost effective means of carrying out the works, the phenolic resin is used when space is a premium since you can use less of this type of insulation to achieve the required u-value.
Firstly, if the property has existing render, a render test must be carried out to see if it is strong enough to hold the insulation. If not, all the existing render will need to be removed prior to attaching the insulation to the brickwork. If the render test shows the that existing render is firmly held in place, the render can be simply smoothed ready for the insulation to be applied directly on to it.
Another important step prior to installing any external wall insulation is to remove any pipework from the outside of the building. These will be reinstalled at the end of the process (and maybe extended in some instances as necessary); this is one of main reasons that the insulating process is expensive and time consuming.
The process is relatively complex, but the basic steps are outlined below:
1 Apply insulating panels to the wall using adhesive mortar
2 Plastic capped fixings are driven through the insulating panels and around their perimeter into the wall to tie the panels securely to the wall.
3 Mortar is then applied over the insulating panels and the fixings.
4 An insulating mesh is then sunk into the mortar to hold the panels rock hard in position.
5 The mortar is sanded and painted with primer to prepare it for the render
6 The rendered finish is applied (available in any colour!)
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EPS-F 031 white insulation panel
EPS-F 040 white insulation panel